A Reader's Guide to College Writing

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 12/13/2013
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Can you think of a college course that doesn’t require reading? Whether in common-read programs, first-year writing, or writing-intensive courses, students need critical reading skills in order to engage with ideas and become successful academic writers. John Ruszkiewicz’s A Reader’s Guide to College Writing gives students an insider’s view of the way critical reading really works and how a writer’s rhetorical choices lead to powerful writing. In dynamic, pocket-sized lessons, readers are drawn into the conversation with a wise, helpful, and fun professor who knows just the right example to illustrate a concept. Simple, easy-to-spot marginal notes highlight the moves that matter in academic writing and help students apply the chapters’ advice. Flexible end-of-chapter activities work with a variety of writing assignments, while appendices with MLA and APA guidelines give students quick-reference help they can depend on.

Author Biography

John J. Ruszkiewicz is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin where he has taught literature, rhetoric, and writing for more than thirty-five years. A winner of the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award, he was instrumental in creating the Department of Rhetoric and Writing in 1993 and directed the unit from 2001-05. He has also served as president of the Conference of College Teachers of English (CCTE) of Texas, which gave him its Frances Hernández Teacher—Scholar Award in 2012. For Bedford/St. Martin's, he is coauthor, with Andrea Lunsford, of Everything’s An Argument (6th edition, 2013), and the author of How To Write Anything (2nd edition 2012) and A Reader's Guide to College Writing (2014).

Table of Contents




PART ONE: You, the Reader

Chapter 1 Contexts

Get the Backstory: Who’s Assigning What?

Common Readings

Course Syllabi

Locate the Text: Canonical or Contemporary?

Scan the Text: Meet the Supporting Elements

Read Reviews — Intelligently


Chapter 2 Authors and Publishers

Appreciate Scholars and Their Work

Recognize Popularizers, Experts, and Public Intellectuals

Understand Bloggers, Tweeters, and Citizen Reporters

Appraise Individual Authors

Know Publishers and Their Platforms


Chapter 3 Audiences and Publics

Define the Audience: Who’s a Text For?

How Writers Appeal to Readers

Your Background as a Reader

Welcome to the Academic Community: A Fish Story

Accommodate Readers: Keep Them Interested


Chapter 4 Genres

Read Narratives

Read Reports

Read Arguments


Chapter 5 Sources

How Academics Establish Credibility

Sources in STEM Fields

Sources in the Humanities

How Experts and Public Intellectuals Earn Authority

How the Other Guys Do It


Chapter 6 Critical Reading

Leave Tracks on a Text

Read against the Grain: Logical Fallacies

Be Smart: Read beyond Your Range



PART TWO: You, the Respondent

Chapter 7 Claims and Contents

Look for a Thesis: Statement and Proof

Expect Variations: It Gets Complicated

How Writers Direct a Claim

How Writers Orchestrate a Claim

How Writers Lay Out Complex Ideas


Chapter 8 Explain and Imply

Examine Evidence: Support a Point

Find Meaning: Read between the Lines


Chapter 9 Dispute, Concede, and Rebut

Dispute and Challenge: Build Interest

Concede and Correct: Build Trust

Rebut and Reply: Build Authority


Chapter 10 Summarize, Annotate, and Paraphrase

Summarize a Reading

Annotate a Bibliography

Paraphrase a Selection


Chapter 11 Discuss

Write a Response Paper in Your Head

Agree or Disagree

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses of a Text

See Similarities and Differences

Point Out Complications

Express Any Doubts

Get Involved

Learn the Right Moves

Effective Strategies in Discussions

What to Avoid in Discussions



PART THREE: You, the Writer

Chapter 12 Compose

    Manage Assignments

    Figure Out Audiences

    Overcome Writer’s Block


Chapter 13 Make a Point

    Find a Thesis


Chapter 14 Structure

    Organize a Paper

    Think in Paragraphs

    Use Transitions

    Make Introductions

    Draw Conclusions

    Choose Titles


Chapter 15 Evidence

    Find Sources

    Library Catalogs and Resources

    Information Databases and Indexes

    The Internet

    Seek Expert Advice


Chapter 16 Frame Ideas and Quotations

    Use Frames to Give Credit

    Use Frames to Connect Ideas

    Use Frames to Synthesize Ideas

    Use Frames to Join the Conversation

    Handle Quotations Correctly


Chapter 17 Style

    High, Middle, and Low Style

    High Style

    Middle Style

    Low Style

    Inclusive and Culturally Sensitive Style


Chapter 18 Clarity and Economy

    Thirteen Suggestions to Improve Your Writing


    Appendix A: Style Guides Used in Various Disciplines

      Appendix B: MLA and APA Basics

      MLA Documentation and Format

      MLA In-Text Citation

      Works Cited

      APA Documentation and Format

      APA In-Text Citation

      List of References

      Bibliography of Works Quoted or Discussed


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